In all aspects of life

In all aspects of life

Friday, October 11, 2013

Addiction vs Disease

I was listening to a radio broadcast today on the Canadian Forces Network about weather Drs in Canada should be allowed to prescribe heroin to severe addicts who cannot kick the habit through other treatment options. It is currently illegal in Canada for Drs to do this. 

One side of the argument said this is good, as heroin is a poison and any heroin addict would like to get free, clean heroin. The other side said that it should be legal because this very select few of heroin addicts cannot get clean any other way. The word disease was thrown in there somewhere too, but I don't remember exactly how.

The question that I had is: Since when is addiction considered a disease? Should it be? Why or why not? 

It seems like this is a very slippery slope. If we consider a heroin addiction (or alcohol or any addiction) a disease so we can provide clean heroin to addicts, where does the line get drawn? Tobacco is also addictive, or at least the nicotine is. Should we then hand out cigarettes to those who are severely addicted to smoking to help them stop? Or what about caffeine? Or sugar? Where does the line get drawn, and who decides? 

I've always thought a disease was a genetic disorder that in some way harms the body. I am thinking of MS, cancer, etc... And if we decide that heroin, ( or alcohol or any addiction) is genetic, then addiction is obsolete and anyone can claim that they are pre disposed to these addictions.